I have friends that are into antiquing. They will drive miles to go to certain shops. Every trip they take will end up at some spot where they hope to find a diamond in the rough. To me, it is just a bunch of junk that people keep reselling. These items are old enough to be out of style, but not old enough to have any real value.
Many who write today about life and faith want to create a portrait of an antique church. One group even had signs made that said, “This isn’t your grandmothers church!” The old-fashioned is being tossed aside for the contemporary. The antique is being auctioned off to make room for the post-modern, post-Christian, hipster view of things. I am a child of the 80’s, so when I see worship leaders trying to look like Gru in their tight-fitting pants it makes me laugh, not worship. I desperately want to buy them proper-fitting clothes and haircuts, which would surely insult them greatly!
The point today is that we believe today’s church is off-putting because it is being labeled antique (Grandma’s church). The reality is that the core values of church and the life of a Christian go farther back than last century. This faith we are being called to is ancient, not antique. In fact, our belief in the eternal nature of God means that he is billions and billions of years old. Actually, God has no beginning, but you get the point! What are to do? What are the key concepts we should understand about this ancient faith lived out in today’s culture? How can a person of faith in, and followship of, Jesus Christ live this out today? Here are 3 critical elements for this ancient faith to come alive today.
Focus on Christ and not your circumstances. It is easy to whine. It is easy to complain. It is easy to look at yourself and think how bad you have it. I have heard it said that you think you have it bad because you have no shoes until you meet a man without feet. The point is that our circumstances do not have to dictate our mood or our faith. When I focus on circumstances, I become negative or prideful depending on the circumstance. Focus on Christ, the author and finisher of your faith. Let Him dictate your mood, energy, and outlook.
Serve from the Spirit’s power and not selfish pride. We are called to love and serve other people. Many of us do this out of our own strength, which fails us, and for our own ego, which is flawed. Serving other people out of the power of the Holy Spirit reminds us to be content with who and what we are. Let the great God do things through you rather than you trying to do great things for God. Settle in to the Spirit and be content with yourself, love others, and answer the call to service. Go to your church leadership and ask to get involved. After you revive them, tell them you’re serious!
Commit to relationships more than religion. When Jesus said He was going to build His church, I do not think he had buildings and budgets in mind. While He knew we would mess things up in this way and thus lose our focus, His intent was to develop relationships that develop relationships. We are to make disciples that make disciples. Now, if you need buildings and budgets to accomplish that task, fine. However, be cautioned that it is easy to lose sight of the real goal when tangibles come into play. We are in a relationship with God, not a religion about and for God. Our relationship is what Jesus died for us to have.
This faith is ancient spanning time longer than is calculable. This faith, though, old is fresh with each new generation. Before we beat up the church and leave it for dead. Let us consider that it is the people who make up the church. If the church has a problem we should evaluate ourselves first and see if we are being the problem or the solution.